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Last updated: 20 May 2020
Trying to put an exact number on how much energy a household consumes is impossible because no two houses are the same. The factors that go into energy consumption can be your postcode, who’s living there and even when your house was built. This guide will take you through the different ways your energy bills are calculated, and then give some tips on how to save energy and money on your bills every month.
What affects my gas and electric bills?
There is no one size fits all to energy bills. There are a wide variety of factors that will affect your specific bill that you will not be able to do much about, these include but are not limited to:
- Postcode: Different places in the UK will charge different amounts for energy. Different energy suppliers are available in different places, and even the same energy supplier will charge a different amount depending on postcode. For instance, the lowest household annual bill was in the East Midlands (According to Ofgem, 2015).
- Size: Obviously, the bigger the house you have will cost more to heat and will require more electricity.
- Number of people: More people means more hot water, and more electricity used.
- When your house was built: Newer builds typically have better insulation and more efficient electricity usage.
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Am I a high energy user?
You might find it hard to figure out whether you are a high or low energy user, and therefore whether there is room to save. The most common reason someone would be a high energy user is the number of people and the size of their house. If you are in a 1 to 2 bedroom flat, with only 1 or 2 people your average usage will be 1,900 kWh in electric, and 8,000 kWhs in gas. Compare that to a house of 5 or more in a 4 or more bedroom house, the energy consumption will be 4,600 kWh in electric, and 17,000 kWh in gas. As you can see, the difference in the amount of energy consumed is very big and the difference in bills will be as well.
Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption
Despite there being many factors that are out of your control, there are a couple of surefire ways to reduce your energy consumption.
Energy Saving Bulbs
Many people are now turning to energy-saving lighting
in order to cut down the amount of money spent on electric. Typically, with a normal incandescent bulb most of the electricity will be converted into heat as opposed to light, and they have a very short life span. Instead, you can buy LED or CFL bulbs which use 80% and 75% less energy respectively. These will cost you much less over an extended period, as they last for a much longer time.
Insulation is a common reason for losing heat during winter and keeping houses mild during summer. You can retro-fit your house with decent insulation and double glazed windows which will help cut costs. If you have large windows in your house, don’t forget to shut the curtains when you leave as it can insulate much more than you think!
Smart thermostats are a great way to save money over an extended period of time. They work by only heating the rooms which you want to be heated and can be controlled by an app on your phone
so you can always have access to it even if you are out of the house. You’ll also be able to monitor your usage more effectively which means you can see where you might be able to cut costs.
How can I reduce my bills?
The best way is to compare different energy tariffs
and see whether you would benefit by switching. When you first start a contract with an energy supplier, they’ll usually put you on a fixed rate tariff, after this ends they’ll likely move you to a variable tariff which can be the most expensive. It’s important to know when your fixed rate tariff ends so that you can switch in time to make savings.